Pianist Storms Off Stage, Claims Fans Filming His Performance Mean Record Labels Won't Give Him A Contract
from the can-we-have-a-little-reality,-please dept
We’ve seen some really nutty arguments from musicians claiming that YouTube is hurting them, even as we see much more evidence of musicians becoming successful entirely because of YouTube. But this latest argument may be the nuttiest yet.
Classical pianist Krystian Zimerman stormed off the stage after spotting someone in the audience holding up a mobile phone. It’s not entirely clear how he knew they were recording video, rather than merely taking a photograph, but either way, he came back to insist that YouTube was somehow destroying his career:
On returning, he told the audience that he had lost many recording projects and contracts because music managers had told him: “We’re sorry, that has already been on YouTube.” “The destruction of music because of YouTube is enormous,” he added.
Now, let’s think about this for a second. This makes absolutely no sense. A shaky smartphone recording of a live performance of a song does little to nothing to take away from a recorded version of the song. The two are entirely different. Furthermore, such a video is actually much more likely to drive more interest in both the overall works of the musician and in going to see them perform live.
Now, I can understand why some musicians might find it generally distracting, and might even put in place general rules within the venue that require people not to film on their mobile phones. And, if such rules are in place, it seems completely fine for the venue to ask those who violate the rules to leave. But to argue that such actions are “destroying the music business” is simply not supportable in reality. And, frankly, if music managers have actually told him that he’s lost a record contract because a performance is on YouTube, then it seems pretty clear that he’s dealing with clueless music managers. If a music manager said that, my first reaction would be to find a reality-based music manager, rather than a completely clueless one, because the manager who reacts that way is clearly not going to be helpful for the rest of my career.
Unfortunately, others, including the person behind the festival took the bizarre complaints even further:
Franz Xaver Ohnesorg, the festival’s director, said he felt a great deal of sympathy towards Zimerman, one of the star performers. “What happened is theft, pure and simple,” he told German media.
Theft of what? And how? This goes beyond just the whole “it’s not theft if nothing is missing” argument. This is not theft under any possible interpretation of “theft.” This was just a fan wishing to create a digital memory of the experience, and possibly share that with others, such that others might look forward to more of Zimerman’s music and performances.
Again, I recognize that some musicians might find it distracting, but the focus should be on that, rather than bogus claims about it being “theft” or laughable claims about recording contracts not granted because of fan videos.